Break-in causes suspicion of repeat offender

Police say a man seen in the women’s swim team locker room Sunday is the same man who officials suspect stole items in 2005 from the same locker room. TCU Police Sgt. Kelly Ham said because the two cases are so similar, he believes the suspect is the same.

Karen Sandifer, a member of the swim team, said she was changing in the locker room Sunday when she saw the man peeking out from a bathroom stall.

Sandifer, a senior early childhood education major, couldn’t identify the suspect in a lineup police showed her but said based on four video stills of the suspect in the 2005 incident and in the most recent incident looked to be the same man.

Sandifer said photographs and personal items belonging to members of the swim team were found in the false ceiling; however, Ham would not confirm this.

Ham said the man entered the locker room by breaking into the officials’ locker room, located in the basement of the University Recreation Center, and climbing up through ceiling tiles into the women’s locker room. The man likely went unnoticed, Ham said, because he was inside the false ceiling, where he cut through sheetrock and firewall to get from the officials’ locker room to the women’s swim team locker room.

Ham would not say whether he thought the suspect was a TCU student.

In both cases, the suspect was found in the locker room at times when women usually wouldn’t have been there, said Kendra Jackson, a member of the swim team.

“Females have been grossly violated,” said Jackson, a senior special education major.

Ham said TCU Police are taking the issue very seriously and did so in 2005.

In 2005, the suspect entered the locker room through a door, Ham said, so police changed all the locks.

Ham and Detective Vicki Lawson both worked on the 2005 case for more than two and a half months until they ran out of leads, Ham said.

TCU is expediting the addition of more security to the Rec Center as a result of the incident, Ham said.

Fingerprints were collected Monday from a metal object in the ceiling but police were unable to recover finger prints in the 2005 case, Ham said.

Using leads from the case in 2005 and new leads, Ham said he’s hoping to catch the suspect. Jay Iorizzo, assistant director of facility operations, declined to comment until the TCU Police investigation is complete.

Steve Kintigh, director of campus recreation, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment before press time.